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German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

 

Background: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler came into office at almost the same time. Initially the Nazis treated FDR favorably. Only around 1937 when Roosevelt began his long campaign to shift American opinion on neutrality did the Nazis become more hostile. This page shows the development of Nazi caricatures on FDR over the years. Eleanor Roosevelt was also a frequent target, and by the time she began appearing she was always presented in an unfavorable manner.

The source: Taken from my own collection or from the University of Heidelberg’s on-line collections. Theirs are available under a Creative Commons License.


Nazi Caricatures of FDR


FDR caricature

Caption: “Roosevelt against Communism”: The caption says: “It does no good to grab the bull by its horns. One also has to get it around the neck.”

Early caricatures of FDR were largely friendly. His handicap was ignored until Nazism decided he was an enemy. The cartoon does suggest, however, that he is not taking sufficient action.

Source: Brennessel, #33/1935. My collection.

Nazi caricature of FDR

Caption: The Supreme Court had overturned various New Deal measures. FDR is throwing life rings to drowning Americans, only to be told by the Supreme Court: “Stop, Mr. President! Those are unconstitutional life rings!”

Source: Brennessel, #23/1936. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Roosevelt’s praised ‘Streamlining of Democracy’”: The caption says: “We’ve got the streamlined version. Hopefully, nobody will see where I’m going with it.”

By early 1938 the Nazis had decided that FDR was not their friend, and caricatures turned less friendly.

Source: Brennessel, #6/1938. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Roosevelt prays for peace”: The caption says: “Grant, oh Jehovah, that war does not break out until we can sell weapons again!”

The American neutrality laws were in effect, which prevented the U.S. from selling military equipment to Europe. The Nazi claim was that FDR wanted war, but only when he could profit from it.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #32/1939. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “For the Stars and Stripes!”

In this cartoon published after the invasion of the Soviet Union, the claim is that FDR is under the control of the Communists and Jews.

Source: Fliegender Blätter, #33/1941. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “The lion needs a haircut!”

The United States was supplying England with desperately needed supplies by now. To make the support palatable to the public, the U.S. received in return rights to British bases. In one of many cartoons on this theme, here Roosevelt is cutting off parts of the British Empire.

Source: Lustige Blätter, #15/1941. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “President Roosevelt.”

Although Nazi propagandists occasionally claimed Roosevelt had Jewish ancestry, they generally confined themselves to suggesting that he was under Jewish control. Here, FDR looks at himself in the mirror and sees a Jewish reflection.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #20/1941. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Original sin in the USA.”

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are heeding the Jewish serpent’s temptation to sell armaments.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #31/1941. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “His ‘New Deal’ has failed. Roosevelt needs new ways to support himself.”

Roosevelt is collecting new military bases in Iceland and the Azores. By now most caricatures of FDR made a point of showing him with crutches.

Source: Fliegender Blätter, #35/1941. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “The gangster president. The presidential chair on which he belongs.”

By late 1941 the Nazis no longer felt the need to treat FDR with any respect at all. He deserves, the cartoon suggests, execution.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #46/1941. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

 

Caption: “They have their war! Warmonger #1 and his lure Eleanor.”

The Nazi claim (not entirely inaccurate) was that Roosevelt had been working to get the United States into the war from the beginning. Now, the cartoon says, the hobbling cripple and his ugly wife have what they wanted.

Source: Lustige Blätter, #1/1942. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Just after Pearl Harbor, FDR is explaining that his wife has a brilliant plan: Surround the enemy on all sides and destroy him.

Source: Fliegender Blätter, #2/1942. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Evening prayer in Washington.”

FDR, Churchill, and Eleanor are praying to Stalin’s picture: “I am small, my heart is pure, let no one dwell within but Stalin alone!” Stalin by now was often the main villain, the force driving FDR and Churchill into continuing the war.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #3/1942. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Al Capone’s best pupil.”

FDR is thanking Capone for his assistance, and says to let him know if there is anything he can do for him, “since one hand washes the other.”

Source: Lustige Blätter, #9/1942. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Well, Stalin, if noise were power the machine wouldn’t be bad!”

A regular Nazi theme is that Americans were big mouths unable to live up to their words.

Source: Fliegende Blätter, #14/1942.

Nazi caricature

Caption: Eleanor Roosevelt says: “I christen you the submarine....” She is interrupted: “Stop, Mrs. Roosevelt! It’s temporarily an aircraft carrier!”

This was published during a time when German submarines were operating effectively. The point is that the ship she is launching will soon be sunk.

Source: Lustige Blätter, #25/1942. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “American candelabra.”

Roosevelt, supported by his cane, is holding a Jewish candelabra.

Source: Lustige Blätter, #27/1942. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Finally alone!”

Eleanor Roosevelt was visiting England. FDR is pleased that his talkative wife is somewhere else.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #45/1942. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “We are holding firmly and loyally to each other.”

The decrepit trio of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin are held together by the Axis’s spear. Note that FDR has a Star of David and holds a crutch in one hand.

Source: Lustige Blätter, #3/1943. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “David’s ladder.”

Displaying some biblical ignorance, the cartoon has Roosevelt dreaming of world domination.

Source: Fliegender Blätter, #11/1943. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Take the bones to the kitchen.. They’ll make a good soup!”

Having devoured the British lion, Roosevelt is out to get the last bit of nourishment from the remains.

Source: Lustige Blätter, #13/1943. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “An ass remains an ass.”

The Democratic Party was supporting FDR for a fourth term. The Democratic donkey is saying: “Please tread on me for four more years, dictator!”

Source: Kladderadatsch, #7/1944. Heidelberg collection.

 

[Page copyright © 2015 by Randall L. Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]


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